Many Americans were gobbling up tickets for a chance to win Friday’s record-setting $640 million Mega Millions jackpot. The lucky winner stands to win a lump sum of $462 million before taxes using the cash option.
However, as Fox News reports, “winning the Big One isn’t a guaranteed ticket to the good life, as these previous winners can attest”:
Jack Whittaker: This West Virginia businessman won $315 million in the Powerball lottery in 2002, the largest jackpot ever from a single ticket in American history at the time. After being robbed of $545,000 in cash while at a strip club, Whittaker’s granddaughter and daughter were later found dead, and Whittaker was sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover gambling losses.
Juan Rodriguez: This New York City parking attendant was earning less than $30,000 in 2004 when he won $149 million in a Mega Millions drawing. But soon after taking the lump sum option of $88 million, his wife filed for divorce and was awarded half of his winnings.
Fred Topous, Jr.: Topous won $57 million, the seventh-largest jackpot in Michigan state history in June 2008, but eventually took a $33 million lump sum. The convicted sex offender, who was released from prison in 2006, needs to register as a sex offender until 2024.
Billy Bob Harrell, Jr.: This preacher working as a stockboy at Home Depot struck it rich in 1997, winning $31 million in Texas’ lottery. Some 20 months later, after divorcing his wife and buying a half-dozen homes for relatives, he committed suicide using a shotgun.
Jeffrey Dampier: In 1996, Dampier and his wife won $20 million in Illinois’ lottery and used the money to buy relatives homes and to start a gourmet popcorn shop in Florida. Nine years later, Dampier was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend who targeted him for money.
No, “winning the Big One isn’t a guaranteed ticket to the good life,” because money is not the key to the good life, much less eternal life!
Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
WHY NOT not store up treasures on earth? Because Jesus warned us that earthly treasures are subject to rust, decay, and theft. In fact, this WORLD and ALL of its possessions will one day be GONE (2 Peter 3:10)!
The GREATEST Treasure is to recognize that Jesus Christ paid the debt for our sin by dying on the cross for our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21) and to accept His offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms.
Jesus will save those who place their faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1-in-176 million. The odds of those millions satisfying your deepest longings and keeping those millions for eternity is ZERO!
However, the Greatest Treasure – the One that truly satisfies and gives eternal life – is available to you today FREE OF CHARGE if you will accept His offer on His terms.
David A. Sargent, Minister [email protected]